October 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Poor weather can exacerbate truck driver error as winter approaches
Meteorologists are already predicting an unusually long and cold season over the 2013-2014 winter. According to the Farmer's Almanac long-range winter forecast, the Midwest will experience below average temperatures this year and above average precipitation.
Minnesotans are no strangers to cold, snowy, icy road conditions. Just the same, every year, dozens of motorists lose their lives and hundreds are injured in winter crashes that could have been avoided with a little more caution. Commercial truck accidents
are a particularly dangerous threat in winter driving; truck drivers are already less able to see other vehicles even without the interference of weather conditions, and getting a 20-ton semi truck to stop on a slick road is no simple prospect if the driver is not maintaining a generous distance between vehicles.
Slick roads, poor visibility, lack of experience all distinct threats
According to statistics compiled by safety advocacy website IcyRoadSafety.com, at least 458 roadway deaths occurred in icy road conditions over the 2009-2010 winter, the most recent season for which data is available. A total of 17 of those deaths occurred in Minnesota, the sixth highest total in the nation. The previous winter, 35 icy road fatalities were recorded in Minnesota, the second highest statewide total that year.
Icy, slippery roadways are perhaps the winter driving threat that most people think of first. Yet, while challenging conditions no doubt contribute to crashes, human error is often still present. When the roads are icy, truck drivers need to be careful to leave especially large distances between their vehicle and other vehicles. Truck drivers and trucking companies also need to ensure equipment is ready to meet the challenge of winter driving, for instance, by installing the right tires and replacing any worn out brake components. Lowering speeds is also important to avoid crashes when roads are slick.
Visibility issues are another concern in winter driving. Dense snowfall can obviously obscure a driver's visibility, but another often overlooked threat to visibility is fog, which is more common in colder months. When visibility is particularly bad, trucks drivers should simply pull over and wait for conditions to improve; keeping a schedule is not nearly as important as keep other motorists safe on the road. If a driver chooses to continue driving in weather that impacts visibility, it is important to be particularly alert and to slow down so as to allow additional reaction time for threats that will take longer to appear given the snow or fog.
Experience may be the best way for truck drivers to be safe in the winter months. Sending a driver into a Minnesota winter who does not have experience with handling a tractor-trailer in the snow and ice is a recipe for disaster. And, even seasoned drivers can have trouble readjusting to winter driving as fall comes to a close: according to a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the first day of snowfall of the year is typically marked by far more roadway fatalities compared to other snowy days of the year.
Talk to a Minnesota truck accident lawyer if you were harmed in a crash
Winter driving can be challenging in Minnesota, but with the right precautions, it does not have to be unsafe. If you were injured by a crash that may have involved truck driver error
, or if a family member was killed, you may have a right to compensation.
Get in touch with a Minnesota truck accident attorney to learn more about your rights if a tractor-trailer crash has impacted your life.
Article provided by Bennerotte & Associates, PA
Visit us at www.injuryattorneysmn.com